May 30, 2008

Oil in Northern Nigeria, Nigeria is Possible

Professor Agbaji Emmanuel Ogezi is a lecturer at the Department of Geology and Mining University of Jos. He is also a beneficiary of a professional chair from the Petroleum Technology Development fund (PTDF). On April 25th, 2008 he delivered a lecture titled “Geology, Time, Minerals, Environment and Man”.
Egezi was educated at Amadu Bellow University Zaria where he had a First Degree in Geology. He later attended Leeds University in the UK where he backed an M.Sc and a Ph.D. Besides these degrees, he has been a lecturer for more than thirty years. He thus represents a reservoir of knowledge. Considering the fact that Nigerian Universities have been under funded, it could be said that the likes of Egezi have been under utilized. The professional chair to Nigerian Universities as a whole is thus a respond to a cry from within the country to save such knowledge repository from wasting and from ensuring the nation benefits from the resources spent on training such individuals.
The essence of the lecture, Ogezi said, was to interact with the community. It was meant to tell the community outside the university what researches he has done and how it relates to the community.
The lecturer mentioned a number of benefits of his researches to the immediate community. One is that their research has shown that the Tin ore reserve in Plateau State has not been exhausted. Those explored are only the shallow-seated reserves but deep-seated reserves that can be exploited with technologies that were non-existent in the past are still present in Plateau State. Also in the course of his researches he also carried out the Environmental Impact Assessment. Based on this, he and his team intend to recommend technologies that can be used by women and children such that the hazards they usually get exposed to in the course of mining are minimized. His lecture has also demonstrated that Plateau State is well endowed with diverse solid mineral deposits that need to be carefully evaluated by knowing their exact number and commercial worth.
The Nigerian Economy is dependent almost solely on oil revenue and the country can get into financial trouble in situations where oil revenue fails. Presently the unrest in the Niger Delta is growing in dimension. As at present the Nigeria daily oil export has been cut down by about 20% as a result of the sabotage to oil facilities by the militia groups operating in the region. The area of solid minerals is one surw area that can generate enough revenue to sustain the nation where oil revenue fails. It has however, been left in cold for so long. Ogezi says there has been some progress on the sector and they have been trying to improve on the progress through their interaction with the government. As at now, according to him, there are seven solid minerals government is trying to concentrate on. To move forward however, there must be a law stating the terms of engagement for mining companies so that they will not just be groping in the dark and putting their investment at risk. The laws according to him are now in place and with the current status of government, progress will be recorded.
While answering a question as to whether there is oil in the Northern part of the Country or not, the professor explained that as a result of the professional chair to the University, they intend to carry out further investigation on the Benue Trough with the aim of confirming how true that suspicion is. According to him, the Chad Basin, which is actually an upper extension of the Benue Trough, is known to have petroleum and the lower extension of the Benue Trough and Anambra Basin, gas is known to exist. Also he remembers, as a kid, in Idoma land in Benue State a lot of drilling was undertaken. Thus the PTDF project will involve gathering all these facts and re-interpreting them before he can answer the question in the affirmative or otherwise. As far as he knows however, the types of rocks that host petroleum deposits are there.

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